The growth of social networking sites has been something of a phenomenon in the past 18 months. No longer the domain of the younger generation these sites offer a virtual community and communication tool many enjoy.
But are we enjoying them at appropriate times?
I must confess to tweeting and posting on facebook when Nick Griffin appeared on BBC’s question Time but my observation was not about the content of the show but the fact that it had generated so much traffic. Twitter alone recorded almost 60,000 tweets as the show ended, it quickly became a popular topic (trend) and the tweets kept coming into the night at a rate of 12 per second.
The same statistics are true for those commenting on the X-factor and the twins who survive week after week despite twitter and facebook campaigns.
These may be extreme examples but are acceptable as they are, for most, activity undertaken outside of work. But what about those staff who regularly “chat” on facebook during the day and can’t help but “tweet” when they see something they want to share?
As a business Samuel Phillips Tweets, uses Facebook and is actively involved in the business networking site LinkedIn but many fear the use of such sites by staff is having a negative impact on their productivity.
Recent research by Morse an IT service provider points to the potential financial losses these sites are bringing to the UK’s business community. With 57% of the 1,460 surveyed confessing to accessing social networking sites while at work and for 40 minutes a week. That may seem small beer but it adds up to almost a full working week a year for staff and that becomes a massive £1.4 billion per annum.
If you’re concerned about this trend and fear your own business may be affected you should consider introducing a policy that will clearly outline what is acceptable for your organisation.
You can link the policy to use of other non work related websites, personal e-mail, and mobile phones to ensure that you have all of the technological platforms covered.
Whilst it wouldn’t be wise to be too heavy handed it will do no harm to remind staff that there is a protocol and that abuse of the policy will have consequences.
There’s no escaping the fact that these sites and more like them will play an increasingly important part in our daily communications so banning outright may not be a wise move. The key is to strike a balance whereby the benefit outweighs the cost.
For further help on this topic contact firstname.lastname@example.org